Are standardized tests worth it?


Kelsey Horton, Staff Writer

Standardized tests can lead to very long and stressful days and nights. Standardized tests include the ACT, ACCUPLACER, SAT, PSAT/NMSQT, and AP tests. Approximately 78% of colleges consider standardized test scores when looking at admissions and scholarships; therefore, should standardized tests be such a large portion of being accepted into college? Are these tests worth the money, time, and stress? 

Almost all standardized tests cost money, and not everyone can afford them. Since they are so important to colleges, should they be made more affordable, so everyone has the same opportunities for success? The ACT price for the 2019-2020 school year is $50.50 for the test and $67 with the writing included. The ACCUPLACER costs anywhere from between $15 and $50 depending on college fees. The SAT costs $47.50 for the test and $64.50 with the essay portion included. The PSAT/NMSQT only costs $17 for the 2019-2020 school year, and the AP test is $94 for the current school year. 

Standardized tests require so much time to take, and since people are worried about scoring high, they spend tons of time studying. For example, the comprehensive ACT test takes 3 hours and 30 minutes while the ACT with writing takes 4 hours. The ACCUPLACER, on the other hand, does not have a time limit, but only takes about 90 minutes. The SAT takes about 3 hours and 15 minutes, but when the essay portion is included, the test takes about 4 hours. The PSAT/NMSQT takes 2 hours and 45 minutes, and the AP test takes approximately 3 hours. For all of these tests, students are also spending months preparing for these tests.

Standardized tests can also add to a student’s stress. Many high school and college students are already stressed with their current workload, which can include sports, school activities and after school jobs. Teens are reporting high levels of stress, according to a survey conducted by the American Psychological Association (2014). The APA surveyed teens ages 13 to 17 living in the United States to understand how teens experience stress and the impact that stress is having on their lives. Eighty-three percent of teens surveyed cited school as a source of stress, while sixty-nine percent of surveyed teens stated that they were stressed about getting into a good college or deciding what to do after high school. The main cause of stress when it comes to test taking is when students begin to worry because they feel that they do not know the material well enough. 

So, should colleges prioritize test scores over GPA and work ethic? AHS Senior, Isabella Middleton believes that standardized test scores should not be prioritized over GPA because GPA shows work ethic. Being a good student, but not getting high test scores could cause them to not be accepted into their dream colleges.

Although standardized tests are stressful, time consuming, and expensive, they are definitely worth it. Having high standardized test scores can help people pay for college by helping them receive grants and scholarships. In the state of Nebraska, having an ACT score of 24 or higher can give a person numerous scholarships. 

In the long run, standardized tests are worth the time and money because they have the potential to earn money for the person taking them.